Ray Nooyen, 95, of Lancaster formerly of Leola, passed away peacefully Saturday, March 13th, 2021 at the Mount Joy Hospice Inpatient Center. Born in Bellevue, WI, Ray was the son of the late Henry and Margaret (VanDuyse) Nooyen. He was married to Joyce DeGroot, his best friend & true love of his life for 73 wonderful years. In addition to his wife, he is survived by two daughters, Sandy wife of Jonathan Barrett, Sierra Vista, AZ and Debbie wife of John Smucker, Lancaster; five grandchildren, Sheri married to Tyler Garver, Chad Smucker married to LaReta, Shawnda married to Neil Koser, Josi married to Joshua Hershey, & Lucas Barrett married to Jessica. He was also blessed with 12 great-grandchildren, Cole, Christian & Carson Garver, Mason, Ethan, Bo Amos & Myla Rae Smucker, Aidan & Kam Koser, Isaiah, Ezekiel & Abram Hershey. Ray was one of 17 children. He was preceded in death by 8 of his siblings.
Ray worked as a combine specialist for Sperry New Holland for 39 years. After retirement he remained on as a consultant for the company. He took many trips to help people in distant countries learn how to work farm machinery to better their way of life. He loved farm equipment and fixing any problem with the machinery. He never stopped until the problem was resolved. That’s how he lived his entire life, helping his family & friends with many of their own projects, committed & hard working, while building loving relationships with each one.
Ray enjoyed watching the Green Bay Packers. He & Joyce also enjoyed their winters out West in beautiful AZ. They spent many years traveling in their RV with friends.
At age 16, Ray proudly served his country in the Pacific Theater with the U.S. Navy. He served in the South Pacific on the USS Helena, USS Ward and the USS Crosby. Ray had been through five major battles. Wounded in action on three different occasions, he was awarded the Purple Heart, the Navy Good Conduct Medal, a Presidential Unit Citation, and a Pacific Campaign Medal with several bronze and silver stars. Ray survived 12 days drifting on a small raft in the Pacific after the destroyer he was on was sunk by a Japanese dive bomber. He will be remembered for his love for God and his family.
Ray was a long time member of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in New Holland. The family would like to offer a special thank you to Well Span Care Coordinator, Molly and to Hospice RN Nurse, Rachel for their loving care and concern.
The Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Monday, Mar. 22, 2021 at 11 a.m. at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, 150 Water St., New Holland. Viewing: 10-11 a.m. Interment: Mellinger Mennonite Cemetery, Lancaster.